Being a property owner comes with its unique set of legal risks. Even if a tenant seems content and without complaints while living on your property, you could be shocked to find out you’ve been served months after move out. To avoid these types of situations happening as much as possible, here are some quick tips.
Screen, Screen, Screen
If you take anything away from this post, let it be that you must screen each and every one of your tenants before they move in—and do it extensively. Tenants who are well-screened are not only likely to bring less financial issues or difficulties, but they are also less likely to sue. So, don’t skimp on the screening process.
Have a Detailed Leasing Agreement
Consider any and every possible situation that could occur between your tenant and yourself. There’s a potential lawsuit lurking around the corner for anything that isn’t present on that contract, so consider each scenario that is possible
Be Quick to Repair
Waiting for repairs to take place can be an extremely frustrating process for tenants; it’s amazing how quickly a tenant’s opinion of your service can change due to a lack of good repair service. Once a repair need is mentioned, be quick and efficient right away. Get someone working on it as soon as possible, and communicate openly about the timeline for the repair. If you fail to take action or deliver efficiently, you could be risking a lawsuit situation.
Document Every Detail
Make and keep copies of every single piece of paperwork and communication between you and the tenant. You’ll also want to collect receipt copies from any purchase made related to the property. And don’t forget to carefully record any information that vendors, the city, or other people you work with send.
Be Good to Your Tenants
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial to follow. Show respect, kindness, and attentiveness to every tenant. If one tenant hears they’re being treated poorly compared to another, this could lead to a discrimination lawsuit.
Also, study the tenants’ rights according to your state, as they can vary a lot depending on location. The consequences for not complying with these could be even more dire than a lawsuit, so stay well informed. (Of course, it’s always good to freshen up on your rights as a property owner, too.)
A property management company can assist you with each of these tips, and provide you with even more.